The Road goes ever on and on; Down from the door where it began;
Now far ahead the Road has gone; And I must follow, if I can;
Pursuing it with eager feet; Until it joins some larger way;
Where many paths and errands met; And whither then? I cannot say.

[JRR Tolkien, Lord of the Rings]

Sunday 9 December 2012

Martin & Sue’s Christmas Walk


Just before 10 o’clock this morning the last couple of cars pulled into a layby on the A515 east of Coldeaton. It was a good job that the layby was a big one, as 28 had arrived for Martin’s annual Christmas walk.

The rain that was falling was not overly conducive to getting out of the car, but it had to be done and I was assured by a number of people that it was going to ease off by 11. I wasn’t feeling overly optimistic that the weather forecast would hold true and it was with hoods up that we set out along the Tissington Trail.

It had eased as we slip-slid our way down the steep muddy bank into Wolfescote Dale:


The muddiness of that descent turned out to be tame compared to some of the muddiness encountered later!

Wolfscote Dale is a lovely place, but today attention was captured by chatting with others more than by the surroundings, although we were paying enough attention to notice that the river was running high and muddy after all of the recent rain.

The distance was flying by with all that chatting so it seemed no time at all before elevenses were called (under brightening skies, with even the odd hint of blue). Some of us were perhaps a tiny bit cheeky, claiming not just a piece of the ginger CCS which was being offered around (Sue’s speciality), but also some of Martin’s Fudge Brownies. Both were equally delicious and fuelled us nicely through to lunch time. 

More chatting, and a tiny bit more mud, sped us along and before we knew it we were approaching Hartington. It was 12.30 already; where had the morning gone?

The Charles Cotton Hotel was the venue for lunch, and they did an excellent job of feeding 28 hungry walkers. They had interesting murals too. This one was in the Ladies’ Powder Room and was entitled something like ‘Why Men Shouldn’t Flyfish Naked’:


I have no idea where the morning had gone, and equally the three hours we spent in the hotel sped by. There wasn’t just eating, but also quizzing, in the form of three pages of photos the locations (or subjects) of which had to be identified. Mick, Graham and I did well, winning the first prize of a box of chocolates eachSmile

It’s always a bit of a wrench to leave a warm, inviting place, particularly when you’ve just eaten twice your body weight in rather nice food. In fact, it was so much of a wrench that the resolve to skip coffee/tea and make it most of the way back in daylight was tested beyond its limit when the waiting staff mentioned that there were mince pies with the coffee … as if we needed more food!

And so it was 3.30pm when we dragged ourselves back out (not really into the cold, as it was quite mild today), giving us just half an hour of daylight for the 4.25 miles back to the start point.

Now, you may have noticed that there’s been a lot of flooding lately, and I’ve already mentioned various muddy areas…


…but, this bit of road wasn’t remotely damp today, so perhaps at this point I should confess that I didn’t take any photos today and that all of those above were taken on the same walk last year!

Darkness was upon us by the time we rejoined the Tissington Trail, but the light-coloured grit surface on this disused railway bed made it easy enough to follow even with a lack of light, meaning that few people resorted to their torches to light the way. The dark did make it difficult to say goodbye to people as we reached the end of our outing – we couldn’t see who was who!

Thanks go to Martin for another excellently organised Christmas walk. We will no doubt be in attendance again next year – it’s a good day out.

(An hour and a half between finishing a walk and posting a blog, which also included the drive home. That’s got to be a record for me!)


  1. Should have been on a Christmas walk myself today (turned one down for another that was called off) and instead found myself in Inverness Christmas shopping. Eugh!! Know where I'd rather have been...

  2. Must be a record that. Mind you cheating with the photo's helps.
    Good to see you both again. Great day out.

  3. That's brilliant, Gayle. I did take a few photos, but I may use some of your words, as I'm nearly 2 weeks behind with blog entries!
    Glad you enjoyed it.

  4. Nice to meet up with you both again and despite the muddy conditions and also nearly breaking my neck when I slipped,I really enjoyed the walk.
    Have a great Xmas Jeff.